For Immediate Release - September 28, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Greenfield, Athol, Palmer and Montague

Grants will help municipalities get "greener" through local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects

GREENFIELD - September 28, 2010 - In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to clean energy, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today congratulated officials from Greenfield, Athol, Palmer and Montague for efforts that qualified them to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state Green Communities grants to finance projects that cut energy use.

"As members of our inaugural class of 35 cities and towns that applied for and were awarded Green Communities grants, Greenfield, Athol, Palmer and Montague are valued partners in the Commonwealth's progress toward Governor Patrick's vision of a clean energy future," Secretary Bowles said. "Green Communities grants will help these cities and towns take critical next steps to green their operations and reduce their bottom lines, in both energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions."

At an award ceremony in Greenfield today, Secretary Bowles presented municipal officials with Green Communities certificates and congratulated them on grants that will finance the following projects:

  • Athol - $171, 524 for energy efficiency improvements at the senior center, an HVAC analysis of the Town Hall and library, and a solar hot water system at the fire station;
  • Greenfield - $202,066 to buy down the cost of an energy management services company contract, community energy efficiency programs, and consulting services;
  • Palmer - $169,103 to buy down the cost of an energy service company contract related to efficiency measures at the Palmer Town Building; and
  • Montague - $l54, 944 to buy down the cost of a performance contract on eight municipal buildings: Town Hall, Carnegie Library, Montague Center Library, Millers Falls Library, Wastewater Treatment Facility, Montague Parks and Recreation Office, Sheffield Elementary School, and Hillcrest Elementary School.

The four communities honored today were among cities and towns across the state that met the criteria to be designated as Green Communities by the Department of Energy Resources' (DOER) Green Communities Division last spring. Thirty-five communities applied in June for grants for local clean energy projects, and were notified of their grants during the summer. DOER awarded $8.1 million in grants based on a minimum award of $125,000 for each Green Community, with the maximum amount per community adjusted for population and per capita income.

"Greenfield, Athol, Palmer and Montague are among the Commonwealth's municipal clean energy pacesetters, setting an example for the many other cities and towns we hope will meet the criteria to be Green Communities and apply for our next round of grants next year," said DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice.

The signature program of the landmark Green Communities Act of 2008, the DOER's Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that earn Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:

  • Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows "as-of-right-siting" of renewable energy projects;
  • Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
  • Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and establishing a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
  • Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
  • Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building " stretch code pdf format of Stretch Code Adoption by Community

In preparation for the fall program of Green Communities grants, DOER is currently taking applications from cities and towns interested in free planning assistance to help them meet the benchmarks for designation. The deadline for planning assistance applications is October 1, and the deadline to apply for Green Community designation is November 19. Following the subsequent designation of additional Green Communities, those cities and towns will have from December 17, 2010 to January 21, 2011 to apply for local clean energy grants.

Learn More about the .